Team Chennai might have defeated Hyderabad on the back of Ravindra Jadeja’s heroics in the first leg, but things won’t be that easy this time around. Kumar Sangakkara’s men have shown signs of recovery, defeating Pune twice; while Chennai, after a series of home losses, find themselves in a spot.
In their losses against Punjab and Kolkata, Chennai’s middle-order woes came to the fore and it’s time MS Dhoni & Company get their house in order.
“The boundaries didn’t exactly come and that’s why we were 15-20 runs short. We need to tighten up very soon,” coach Stephen Fleming said, after their loss to Kolkata. A couple of rigorous practice sessions followed since then and it’s to be seen how the likes of Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Albie Morkel and Ravindra Jadeja turn it around.
Chennai, though, have been boosted by Mike Hussey’s arrival. Faf du Plessis is in fine form, and Hussey, along with Du Plessis, can forge a formidable combination at the top of the order. The defeats have shaken them up, but Chennai bowling coach Andy Bichel said that they are in no mood to throw in the towel as yet.
“It’s certainly difficult but don’t forget we are a champion team. Yes, we have lost a few close games but the tournament is still wide open and we are all hoping that things will fall into place soon. The boys are aware that they will have to win four out of the remaining six matches and they are ready for it. It’s tough but not impossible. They have the ability to win all the matches and make it to the next level…” Bichel said on Thursday, ahead of a practice session.
For the 2009 champions, Hyderabad, the batting unit has come good of late, but their bowling is yet to click. Both, Cameron White and skipper Kumar Sangakkara, blazed on all cylinders against Pune and the team management is hoping that the two big stars will come good yet again.
However, there’s a concern for Hyderabad in the form of JP Duminy’s injury. The hard-hitting South African southpaw was left out against Pune in Cuttack and Sangakkara didn’t commit whether he will play on Friday. “JP is doing fine but I can’t say anything on his availability. We’ll have to take a call on the final eleven tomorrow and if he is not match-fit, we have the players to replace him,” Sangakkara said.